School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

Postgraduate research

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Current and completed research by our postgraduate students.


Raffaele Ragni

Start date

May 2013

Submission date

May 2017

Raffaele Ragni

Raffaele Ragni profile photo


Predicting the foundation performance of offshore jack-up drilling rigs in intermediate soils


The aim of this PhD research is to investigate the behaviour of jack-up platforms on silty soils. A jack-up installation is a discontinuous process, such that there are inevitably periods where the legs and footings are embedded to some depth less than the target depth, with the opportunity for some consolidation to take place in the soil before the installation process re-commences. This will strengthen the soil locally and create the potential for catastrophic damage, if the footing punches through this stronger soil into weaker material below. Particular aspects that need to be investigated are: when/where this may occur, how long the consolidation phase needs to be to cause damage and how deep the footing will “free-fall”. The project will combine experimental and numerical approaches. The experimental part will consider footing penetration tests into the silty soil in order to reveal the soil failure mechanism. The numerical work on the other hand allows wider parametric studies to be undertaken.

Why my research is important

Since drilling jack-up platforms are widely used in offshore industry, it becomes essential to undertake a complete and thorough study of this kind of structures. Final aim of this research is to supply guidelines for installation of spudcan foundations especially on silty soils, which are commonly encountered in Australia. Given the potential catastrophic damage caused by an eventual punch-through, the research points to avoid such a scenario in order to guarantee people safety and protect huge investments afforded by sector-related industries.


  • International postgraduate research scholarship (IPRS)
  • Australian postgraduate award (APA)
  • UWA safety-net top-up scholarship
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) DP

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Last updated:
Thursday, 19 September, 2013 11:39 AM